A New Beginning

photography by Mary Lou Jacobs

A New Challenge

This picture was a challenge for me. It looks simple enough but I am so used to relying on outside actions, plugins, filters, etc. to edit my pictures such as Adobe Lightroom 4Topaz Labs, and others, all of which I have paid for over the years. I decided I wanted to create an image completely in PSE without using anything that had to be paid for which, by the way, is how I did it for a long time when I first stared four and a half years ago. It’s makes me laugh when I think of April 2008 and how excited I was to get PSE. The only problem was I didn’t know where to start or even how to open an image much less clone or anything else!!

This image was done completely in PSE with the addition of Rita’s  Coffee Shop S-Curve Pop Action which is FREE and Shadowhouse Creations Aged Canvas Texture (ACT8) which is also FREE. In the  next week or so I will also post this same image edited with some of the above mentioned filters etc. Check back to see the differences!!

I shot this with my iPhone 4S.

Original

PostProcessed in PSE9

Workflow

1. Duplicate image and do your normal edits.

2. I ran Rita’s Coffee Shop S-Curve Pop Action.

3. I adjusted the contrast slightly with a Brightness/Contrast Adjustment Layer.

4. I did a slight Levels Adjustment.

5. I added the Aged Canvas Texture (ACT8) and used the Soft Light Blend Mode with the Opacity at 100%.

6. I used the Dodge Tool to highlight some of the areas on the building.

7.  I created a composite layer ~  CMD + option + shift + E on a Mac or CTL + ALT + shift + E on a PC.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Enjoy!!

As always please remember if you choose to use any of the links or tutorials on this blog that you give credit to the author.

Topaz Simplify 4

I have had Topaz Labs Simplify 3 for a long time and never used it very much. When Simplify 4 was released last week there were a lot of posts on Facebook about how much better it is than Simplify 3. I upgraded my software and  thought it was time for me to give it a try and see for myself.

Original

After Topaz Simplify 4

Workflow

1. Duplicate image and do your normal edits. If you look at the original you will see some spots on the horse’s face and neck. I used the Spot Healing Brush to remove them. If you do not have the Spot Healing Brush you can use the Clone Tool.

2. Open Topaz Labs Simplify 4 and in the Effects Panel click on BuzSim Preset.

3. Scroll down to the Presets Panel and click on BuzSim Desaturated. I decided this needed a tweak or two so I went to Global Adjustments and clicked on Adjust and moved the Saturation slider until I had the look I wanted. You can play around with the any of the adjustments to see if you like the changes in your image.

4. Click Apply and then OK and you will go back to PSE.

6. I added a very slight Gaussian Blur of 1.2.

7. The I went to Enhance then Unsharp Mask and used these settings:  Amount 80   Radius 1.0   Threshold 4

8. I created a composite layer ~  CMD + option + shift + E on a Mac or CTL + ALT + shift + E on a PC. That’s it!!

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Enjoy!!

As always please remember if you choose to use any of the links or tutorials on this blog that you give credit to the author.

Butterfly Metamorphosis

Butterflies are my second favorite subject to photograph. This photograph was taken with my Nikon D80 and has been sitting on my computer for 4 years. I love the butterfly in this image but I couldn’t decide how to change the very blah background. I have become quite the ‘texture’ addict and decided to see what I could do. The textures I used here are from French Kiss Collection and I did purchase them. You can find free textures at Shadowhouse Creations, Rita’s Coffee  Shop  or do a Google search to find free textures to use as well.

Original

With Textures

Workflow

!. Duplicate image.

2. Edit your image to your liking.

3. Open a texture of your choice. I used FrenchKiss Collection’s Artiste Flower Garden. I changed the Blend Mode to Overlay and lowered the Opacity to 66%.

4. Next I used the eraser set at 28% Opacity and erased the parts of the texture where I wanted to see more of the subject.

5. I found a second texture that I wanted to use as an overlay. I choose French Kiss Collection Artiste Bold Brush 1, changed the Blend Mode to Soft Light and left the Opacity at 100%.

6. I created a composite layer ~  CMD + option + shift + E on a Mac or CTL + ALT + shift + E on a PC. That’s it!!

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Enjoy!!

As always please remember if you choose to use any of the links or tutorials on this blog that you give credit to the author.

Lightroom 4

Recently I upgraded Lightroom 3 to Lightroom 4 and much to my delight while searching the web I found Trey Ratcliff’s awesome new presets for LR4. So today we don’t have a complicated workflow just a click of the mouse!! Of course when you are in Lightroom you can move the sliders to make any adjustments to the presets that you want. This was taken with my Nikon D80.

Original

I did a slight levels adjustment.

Trey Ratcliff’s LR4 preset…Cross-Blue Depths

Trey Ratcliff’s LR4 preset…Soft Class Stronger Glaze

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Enjoy!!

As always please remember if you choose to use any of the links or tutorials on this blog that you give credit to the author.

Blog Button Frustration

I was asked recently if I had  a ‘Grab Button’ on my blog where the HTML code could be copied and a clickable image would show up on their blog. Since I didn’t have one I set out on a search to find out how to create it. There are a lot of things I can do but HTML coding in not one of them!! After several hours, a number of web searches and a lot of frustration I decided I would just go without one. Being the person I am I couldn’t give up so easily and gave it one last try. I couldn’t believe my eyes, I actually found a website where I didn’t have to try to write HTML…it did it for me!! So for any of my blogging friends new, old and yet to be here is the website just in case you want a ‘Grab Button’ of your own.

My new ‘Grab Button’ can be found on the right sidebar thanks to Grab My Button Code Generator.

Workflow to create image for ‘Grab Button”

1. Duplicate image.

2. Resize to 125  x 125 px. You can go up to 150 x 150 px but too much larger might not fit in the sidebar.

3. I added the text and then added a slight bevel and drop shadow to the text.

4. Upload image to your blog and copy the URL of the image.

5. Here’s the magic!! Go to Grab My Button Code Generator, add your info and follow the directions.

6. In WordPress add the HTML code in a Text Widget. I haven’t used Blogger in a long time so I don’t remember how to add it there. If you have Blogger and would like to leave the instructions here that would be great.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Enjoy!!

As always please remember if you choose to use any of the links or tutorials on this blog that you give credit to the author.

Textures, Textures and More Textures!!

It’s no secret…I love textures!! I came across this awesome website with oil painting textures, png files, brushes, tutorials and much more. Leslie Nicole at French Kiss Textures has put a lot of time and love into her website. She runs great sales and has a FREEBIE Collection as well.

I used her Purple Prose Texture which is FREE when you sign up for her newsletter.

While this may look difficult it is not!!

Workflow in PSE9

1. Choose your texture and the image of your choice.

2. The texture is on the top layer with the image beneath it.

3. I changed the blend mode of the texture to Overlay and lowered the Opacity so the image shows through.

4. Next, with the texture layer turned off, I added a white mask to the image layer and with a black brush painted away the parts of the image I didn’t want included.

5. I lowered the Opacity of the image layer until I got the look that I wanted.

For this image the Opacity of the texture layer is 41% and the Opacity of the image layer is 45%. That’s all there is to it!!

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Enjoy!!

As always please remember if you choose to use any of the links or tutorials on this blog that you give credit to the author.

Butterfly and Picture Matting

In my last post I said that flowers are one of my favorite things to photograph and the other favorite of mine is butterflies. I took this with my Nikon D80 and this is SOOC (straight out of the camera). Steve Rich has created another Picture Matting Action. One click and you have matting around your photograph!! By clicking the ‘fx’ on the top layer you can change the size and opacity of the drop shadow, bevel, color of the matting, etc.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Enjoy!!

As always please remember if you choose to use any of the links or tutorials on this blog that you give credit to the author.

A Rose is a Rose…

Flowers are one of my favorite things to photograph. This beautiful rose had no ‘special’ edits just a few tweaks. I took this with my iPhone 4S.

 

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Enjoy!!

As always please remember if you choose to use any of the links or tutorials on this blog that you give credit to the author.

 

Ink on Plastic

Here’s a quick fun tutorial to try, Ink on Plastic. When I completed the tutorial I added the images to Steve Rich’s Before and After Templete.

 

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Enjoy!!

As always please remember if you choose to use any of the links or tutorials on this blog that you give credit to the author.

Tricolored Heron

I took this photograph 4 years ago with my Nikon D80. I never liked the way it looked but I held on to it thinking maybe someday I would be able to do something with it. The day is here!! I love playing with textures so I pulled up this image and started to play. I am very pleased with the transformation and will now be able to use this image. It took me a while to find the textures that worked with this image but once I found them there was no stopping!!

Original

Please click on image for full view

After

Please click on image for full view

Workflow

1. Duplicate original image.

2. Do your normal edits on the image and create a composite layer ~ CMD + option + shift + E on a Mac or CTL + ALT + shift + E on a PC.

3. Choose several textures and try them with the image to see if you like the effect. For this image I chose Shadowhouse Creations FREE  Aged Canvas Textures (ACT) #8 & #11.

4. I placed ACT #8 under my composite layer.

5. Choose ‘D’ on the keyboard so that your background color is black.

6. I then added a layer mask to the composite layer. Select the layer mask and change it to black by choosing CMD + delete on a MAC or CTL + delete on a PC.

7. Making sure the foreground color is white, select a soft brush and set your opacity accordingly. (I set mine to 50% for the bird). Click on the layer mask and start painting back the parts you want to show through.Then I started at the bottom with the opacity at 18% and as I painted upward I made the opacity higher. Adjust your opacity according to how much of the image you want showing.

8. Next I moved ACT #11 over the layer with the layer mask and changed the blend mode to Overlay. You can then make adjustments with the opacity or brightness to your liking.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Enjoy!!

As always please remember if you choose to use any of the links or tutorials on this blog that you give credit to the author.

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